Quilt Projects

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Monday, November 30, 2009

Featured Quilt of the Week

Good Morning and Happy Monday! Each Monday I'm going to be featuring one of the baby quilts I have for sale on my website. You might also want to check the website for the new December "seasonal blurb" in the right hand column of the Home Page. I know we still have one more day of November left but with the Thanksgiving Weekend finally over, it SEEMS like it should be December today!

Okay, on to the Featured Quilt of the Week:


When I first started working on this quilt, it was to be for the expected first child of a dear friend. They didn't know the sex of the baby so I decided I'd just make it bright and colorful which would be suitable for either a little boy or girl.

Then as the quilt top grew on my design wall, I realized I had to make it longer than I had planned in order for the pattern to look good. But that was fine, it would just be a little larger than I had originally intended. About the time I was finishing the top, the little babe was born . . . a beautiful girl.

Hmmm. Okay, these colors would be fine for a toddler, boy OR girl, but for a newborn, little girl baby? Darn. Now I found myself wishing for something a little softer and more feminine in color.

But all was well because I was very happy with the way the quilt top looked and knew I still wanted to finish it. So I kept working on it.

Since the measurements of the top now indicated that it would be big enough for a toddler, I decided to use batting that would be poofy and more like a comforter. Just the perfect quilt to snuggle under on the couch for an afternoon nap. I doubled high-loft polyester batting . . . and then wondered (uh-oh) if I would have trouble quilting it because of the volume. But (whew!) it quilted like a dream and turned out really well.

Finished size of this baby quilt is 38-1/2" x 55-1/4" and will be a complete cover in a crib and yet ample on a toddler's bed. All my quilts are completely washable and dry-able lending them to years of loving use.

Little baby girl mentioned above? Of course, she got her quilt, too. A modified Irish Chain done in pastel 30s reproduction fabrics. I think she liked it.

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Little Things In Life

Good thing I'm not a shopper because I'm not sure I would have the energy or stamina to gird my loins and join the masses searching out the best buys today.

I was so tired when I got into bed last night that it didn't even feel good to finally stretch out and relax. Ever feel that way? It wasn't that Thanksgiving Day wasn't a pleasant one with family and friends, it's just that there seems to be so much advance preparation involved for days (and days and days) beforehand. (Heck, I even dusted baseboards!)

There were just six of us here yesterday. Well, six people and four dogs. Fortunately, none of the dogs are used to being fed from the table (ba-a-a-a-d habit to start) so they were well-behaved. (There were periods when one could hardly navigate across the room because of sprawled dog bodies on the floor, however.) Anyway, there was an hour or so before the turkey came out of the oven that we were all sitting chatting. The guys got onto the topic of hunting (deer season ended here last weekend) and didn't even seem to notice the presence of females in the room, so we started our own good conversation.

But the thing that I liked best was the fact that all three of us women are handworkers. Very Pregnant Lady (so pregnant we didn't know if we might be taking her dinner up to her in the hospital) was well into crocheting a beautiful afghan. Chicken Mama (our daughter) was putting the finishing touches on little hats she's crocheting for a friend's children's Christmas picture. I was doing the quilting on little, tiny "quilts" I'll tie on Christmas packages and then that could be used for tree ornaments.

When I got the idea to do these a month or so ago . . . who knows, it could have been three months ago the way time goes by so fast . . . I made the one up to see if it was going to work. Pleased with the results, I cut and pieced these few more.

Each one measures 2-1/2" to 3" square.

I'm doing just a minimal amount of quilting on each one.

I have one more to quilt after the one I'm working on. Then binding on all of them, adding the cord hanging loop, and I'll be done.

In the past I've knitted miniature stockings, caps, and bells to use in the same way and I've gotta say these are going MUCH faster. Or maybe it just seems that way because I love quilting so much?

P.S. Over on my personal blog I posted about a hand knit shawl I just received as a gift. It's pretty unique as the knitted pattern resembles quilt blocks. You might want to take a peek at it.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Mama Pea Quilts Website Is Finally Here!

One of the reasons I started this quilting blog was to connect with other online quilters to get a broader view of what was happening out there in the quilting world, and another was as an adjunct to the website I hoped to get up and running in order to sell my one-of-a-kind handmade baby quilts on the Internet.

Well, it took a long time, but with my computer savvy/website designer daughter coaxing, educating, pushing and pulling me the whole way, the Mama Pea Quilts website is officially up and running!

I am super-excited, a little shakey, and very happy. If a person is able to make a little money doing what they love to do, what can be better? To spend time each day in my quilt studio creating a quilt that will keep a little one warm or become a well-loved "security blankie" . . . that brings me a lot of enjoyment.

I've said before that quilting energizes me. Seeing the quilt take form from a concept of vague shapes, colors, pieces of fabric to a finished product that you can be proud to have for your own little baby or to give as a gift . . . I can't think of anything else I'd rather be doing. (Well, perhaps purchasing more fabric comes in a close second.)

Where will this little, fledgling Internet business take me? I don't know. But I'm anxious for the ride, and because of the pure pleasure I get from making baby quilts and the satisfaction of making them available to you, the struggle that it's taken to get this far will be worth it.

I hope you can find time to visit Mama Pea Quilts. Please feel free to leave a comment with any question or suggestion you may have by clicking here. If you'd like to be on our mailing list for notification of specials, new quilts, give-a-ways, etc. from

Mama Pea
Quilts, just leave your name and e-mail address on our Mailing List page.

I look forward to getting to know all of you better through our Mama Pea Quilts website. Your visits there are always welcomed!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Sunshine and Lilacs

Ooof! Talk about a busy day! Because our temperatures are hanging in there on the mild side (unbelievable for this time of year where we live), I've admittedly been pushing it trying to get windows washed inside and out. I didn't think it was going to happen this year but Mother Nature is almost taunting me NOT to get them done with this gift of unseasonably warmish days.

So rather than being in my quilt studio (where I full well expected to be by now), I spent the better part of the day on a ladder stretching my garters (as my grandpa used to say) to reach all those dirty little upper corners on the outside of windows.

I finished the last windows I planned on doing today about 2:30 and came in just in time to finish the binding on this latest baby quilt and get pictures outside (best light for showing true colors) before the light waned for the day. (Anybody else still having trouble getting used to it getting dark so early?)

Sunshine and Lilacs. At least I think that's what I'm naming this quilt. The layout and piecing have produced a design that has a little more of a "modern" slant to it than I usually come up with.

The colors say "spring" to me, but that's fine because a baby to be born next spring is well on its way already. Anybody need a lovely baby quilt as a gift for a wee one being born this coming spring?

This quilt measures 39-1/2" x 51" so it would be ample in a crib.

I quilted it in an all-over meandering design.

The backing reminds me of a field of wild flowers.

The quilt will be eventually listed and offered on my website. How's the website coming, you ask? Well, as sometimes happens, you think you're very close to finishing a project when a small glitch turns up or life throws in a curve that requires that you put your attention elsewhere. But it's still foremost in our minds and WILL be happening. Since the unveiling didn't come about this week, I'm now wondering if it might be better to wait until after Thanksgiving. We'll see. And whenever it happens, I'm sure will be for the best.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Wanted: Quilt Needs Quilter

This yellow and purple baby quilt is all ready to be quilted. All that is needed is someone to sit at the machine and go for it.

I got this far this past weekend, thought I might get in a few hours yesterday, but didn't. Maybe today?

Yesterday's hours flew (I mean FLEW) by. I spent a bit of time working with my web designer daughter putting the finishing touches (you know, those last minute 526 little tweaks) on my website that we hope to go live with this week. The site will offer my one-of-a-kind handmade baby quilts for sale. It's something I've wanted to do for a looonng time, and with the help of my daughter, it's very, very close to becoming a reality. (Feel jittery excitement here.)

Stay tuned for the announcement of details soon.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

"Swedish" Baby Quilt

I haven't decided on a name for this little baby quilt yet so I've been thinking of it as my "Swedish" baby quilt. (Blue and yellow? Sweden's colors?)

This was the one I was waiting to quilt after I got my machine fixed. I quilted it using the machine blanket stitch (in the ditch) and it worked out well.

It's hard to see the blanket stitching on these pictures, especially on some of the printed fabrics.

A very square, grid effect shows up on the backing which is pale yellow with a light, white dot on it.

This quilt is 40" x 44" and would be a super gift for a little baby boy, dontcha think?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Tools of the Trade

I finally had the opportunity to make the trek to the big city yesterday to take my ailing sewing machine in for repairs. I dropped it off first thing in the morning (left extra early -- 6:30 AM -- so they would have maximum time to look at it) and when I called late in the afternoon to see if it might be done, I was thrilled.

It was! (I was sooo happy. Yes, I do have two good machines, but rely on both of them for different applications. Besides that, my sewing table looked absolutely nekked with the one machine not set up!)

Turns out my sick machine needed only a minor adjustment (I had convinced myself the whole computer was kaputz). The business where I have purchased both my machines offers periodic check-up, cleaning, oiling, etc. of all machines purchased there free of charge for the lifetime of the machine. Now when cleaning a sewing machine usually starts around $50, I think that's a darned good deal. Yesterday, my machine was given a complete going over and readjustment and I wasn't charged a thing. Wanna know where I'll buy my next upgrade when the time comes?

Anyway, this morning was spent playing catch-up from being gone all day yesterday so I haven't had time to even unpack my machine let alone do any quilting.

In lieu of anything new to show today, I thought I'd do this post on three of my favorite quilting tools: Seam Rippers, Applique Scissors and Marking Pencils.

I can't quilt without an iron and/or seam ripper. You would think a seam ripper was a seam ripper was a seam ripper, right?

As you can see by the above picture, I've used several seam rippers. 'Bout a year ago, I bought the red and white one shown at the top and now will not use any other. It's a Fons and Porter product and is advertised as being ergonomically designed. Come on. What's the big deal? It's a seam ripper!

Proven wrong again, I was. I find it extremely comfortable to hold, to direct, to use. It just feels good holding it in my hand. I like it.

You all know when you're quilting a quilt, you end up with a kajillion threads front and back that need to be snipped off.

These applique scissors are designed so that they cut flat against the fabric, leaving no little sticky-uppy pieces of thread. I don't machine quilt without having them on the table next to my machine.

Oh, boy, have I ever purchased (and discarded) a lot of marking pens/pencils. Now I use these two almost exclusively. And if I ever took the time to order some graphite leads for the red and white Fons and Porter marking pencil, I would only need that one.

I got the red and white "eversharp" pencil as a Christmas gift with the tube of extra white leads. The marks disappear readily under my stitched quilting lines or with a brief rubbing of my fingers over the fabric.

The black graphite pencil (also a gift -- thanks, J!) is much like the Fons and Porter one in that they both give the sharpest, cleanest marking lines I've found with any marking tool. The mark is always thin, the lead never gets thick and/or dull, and I don't waste time trying to sharpen the lead over and over again as with wooden marking pencils.

Ahhhhh, back in place again. Couple of things I have yet to do today before I can go hide in my quilt studio . . . just where I'd like to be this Friday night!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

It's Just Not Workin'

When I first started writing this blog, I told you I'd share my failures with you along with my successes. So here goes.

I started making these Sawtooth Stars with this cute widdle ducky print fabric to use as the foundation for a baby quilt.

I've had the fabric for some time waiting for inspiration. I haven't made a star motif in a baby quilt for quite a while so thought I would fussy cut the fabric as the center block for 6" stars.

Red and yellow would/should be perfect with the focus fabric, right?

But it's just not doin' it for me. Not sure why. While I've been constructing the star blocks, I've been trying to come up with a brilliant idea of how to put them together. So far, I've thought up . . . and discarded . . . a few lay-outs. Nuthin' is giving me the shot of adrenaline to charge ahead with sewing machine pedal to the metal.

So I think what this means is I need to scoot the seven blocks I have made over to a corner of my design wall and work on something else for the time being. Nope, I'm not going to call these little blocks a failure . . . they just need time to sit and mellow before they tell me how to proceed.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Coolin' My Heels

Because as soon as I finish one little task I'm usually on to the next without even thinking, I hardly ever find myself having to "kill time." But you've found me in a rare situation with a few minutes to spare, and I don't want to get involved with anything new because I'm waiting for the arrival of my daughter.

We have a date this morning to take pictures of the last three baby quilts I want to get up on my website before we "go public."

I want to sell my baby quilts online and since dear daughter is a website designer . . . she's been coerced into doing that aspect of the job for me. Seems like we've been working on this little (LITTLE? Ha! Chortle. Snort. Pa-shaw!) project FOREVER. On the other hand, we're both perfectionists and want everything to be juuust right before the grand unveiling.

The above is a picture of one of the three quilts we'll be photographing today. It's nice sized, 41-1/2" x 53-1/2", and I hope it finds a happy home with brand new bundle of joy soon.

Saturday, November 7, 2009


This is the quilt for my daughter to have at her house for visiting little ones to use. A simple 9-Patch that went together quickly and was fun to do. I had enough different fabrics that it was easy to build the 9-patches without feeling I was repeating combinations too frequently. The backing is a sweet blue flower . . . same as one of the fabrics on the front.

I took this angled shot hoping the quilting would show up a bit. If you wish, click to enlarge it and you may be able to see it more.

I had a little trouble deciding on what to use for the binding. I liked how the blue flower I used for the backing looked on the front, but then the back of the quilt was kinda plain. (Or you could say, really plain!) The yellow fabric with the blue flower used on the front looked really good with the blue backing but didn't do much for the front. (Oh, the trials and tribulations!) I finally settled on the orange stripe and am truly-duly happy with it. Stripes or polka dots are almost always a winner for bindings. At least in my book.

Can't beat the good, ol' 9-Patch block, can you? I sure do love those old traditional block patterns.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Too Many Things . . .

Too many things keeping me out of my quilting studio. I'm getting very cranky. Somebody better change somethin' around here or things are apt to get nasty.

It's only the beginning of November, and it'll be okay if I don't have my new holiday shower curtain quilted and ready to be hung until December 1st. But, ooooh, my fingers are itchy to get that one done.

I'm waiting to get the baby quilt for my daughter backed and sandwiched. It won't take long to quilt it, and I'm anxious to see how it looks . . . 'tis so true that quilting makes the quilt.

'Bout all I can do right now is keep plugging away at other things that have to take priority before I can get at the sewing machine . . . and look at and dream of projects planned.

I've never made a two-color quilt and have a real fondness for the traditional Flying Geese pattern, so when my favorite quilt shop had a going-out-of-business sale a month or so ago, I got the fabric for this pattern I've had filed away for "someday."

The beige/ecru is the background, the solid red for the Flying Geese and, woo-ee, I couldn't pass up this great polka dot for the backing. It's 75" x 91" so I'll probably make a couple of blocks here and there while working on other projects in between. (Like Christmas things!)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Sunday Design Wall

Stayed up quilting maybe a little later than I should have last night (with the company of a glass of a good wine) but that enabled me to get the top completed today. (This is the baby quilt my daughter asked me to make.) Now at 4 PM, I'm being assaulted with one jaw-cracking yawn after another.

The solid gold fabric looks more orange-y in the photo than it really is. Had to take the picture on the design wall rather than out in our greenhouse where I seem to be able to get truer color representation. (Couldn't talk the dog into holding up the quilt top out there . . . and my main holder-upper [husband] was involved elsewhere.)

I had originally picked out a gorgeous blue for the center square of each 9-patch and the outer border setting triangles, but my daughter thought it would make the quilt look too specifically little boy-ish, so we switched to the gold keeping it more neutral in color.

But I keep thinking about that blue . . . so pretty . . . and I have quite a few squares left over that I cut for the 9-patches. I may have to make another one in a little different layout and use that blue fabric.

Okay, I'm going to try to get it backed and sandwiched tomorrow and then on with the quilting.